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Jewish Journal

Netanyahu (at last!) Vows to Get Tough on Vigilante Settlers

by Rabbi John Rosove

December 14, 2011 | 5:24 am

For some time some West Bank Israeli settlers have been assaulting Palestinians and Israeli settlements have been incorporating Palestinian deeded land without resistance from the Israeli army. This official passivity contrasts sharply with the Israeli army’s vigilance in protecting these same Jewish settlers and their settlements from assault by Palestinians.

The Israeli human rights organization B’tzelem has published many reports on Israeli settler activities including the estimate that fully one-fifth of all settlements are built on deeded Palestinian land and that Israeli settlements control 42% of all West Bank land.

I am heartened by this morning’s report (December 14, 2011) below from Media Line News Agency that the Israeli government has, at last, decided to get tough with violent settlers now that these settlers are actually attacking the State of Israel!

A few nagging questions - What about the illegalities perpetrated by Jewish settlers that have not been addressed? What about the rights of Palestinians who have been subjected to settler hubris, hard-hardheartedness and criminal behavior for years without response from the Israeli army and Israeli justice system (arguably the only independent justice system in the Middle East)? And what about the moral values of Judaism and the Jewish people that have not been upheld?

Deuteronomy 16:20 (7th century BCE) commands Tzedek tzedek tirdof! - “Justice, justice shalt thou pursue!”

The Mishnah (3rd century CE) reminds us He-vei mi-tal’mi-dav shel Aharon, ohev shalom v’rodef shalom, ohev et ha-bri-yot u’m’karvan la-Torah - “Be a disciple of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing it, loving people and bringing them near to Torah.” (Pirkei Avot 1:12)

[See my Sunday, December 7 blog - Reinvention of Hanukkah in the 20th Century: A Jewish Cultural Civil War to more fully appreciate that the forces at play battling for the heart and soul of the Jewish people, Judaism and the State of Israel are powerful, deep and ancient.]

“Netanyahu Vows to Get Tough on Vigilante Settlers”

“Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed to get tough with violent settlers in the West Bank, a day after groups of them attacked an army base and broke through a border fence. “I will fight this phenomenon with all my force until it is eliminated,” he said on Tuesday and instructed Defense Minister Ehud Barak to devise a “heavy-handed” plan to combat the “calamity.” The incidents were the latest in a growing number of assaults on the army, which extremists regard as an enemy for dismantling unauthorized settlements, and on Palestinian mosques and olive groves. But the extremists didn’t appear intimidated by Netanyahu. Hours after Netanyahu spoke, unknown attackers tried to torch to an unused mosque in Jerusalem and scrawled anti-Arab slogans on the walls. Meanwhile, a settler activist posted a message on a website calling on soldiers to sabotage equipment and block evacuations of settlements. (Media Line – December 14, 2011)”

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